Saturday, August 7, 2010


Am I getting smaller? Recently I have felt that I am. Often times not by my own choice. I wish it were because of a successful diet. However it is a reduction of a different kind.

As I look around I see alot of ways that we can be reduced. I wish it were more so a practice of simplifying, yet it is not. Often times it is a bit more destructive than helpful. Let me explain.


Our ability to reduce someone through opinion is one way we can reduce a person. We can take an entire human and the sum of their total existence, their behaviors, their thoughts, their soul, and reduce it into a simple statement; most often a judgment.

“The fat one.”

“The mean one.”

“The stupid one.”

The disabled one.”

“The broke one.”

Our attempt to label and position another can indeed become a testimony to our ignorance. I refuse to judge a situation, person, or circumstance by one singular component any more than I would judge an entire song by one note. People can try to pin labels on us however we do not have to wear their “stinking badges.”

Have you ever filled out a financial statement?

It is odd how an entire sense of self-worth can become attached to our net worth.

“Wow! I have become the sum of the contents of my home, and the digital contents of a couple bank accounts.”

Society has a number they like you to hit. This number can affect an opinion of you as well. If I buy a new couch will you like me more? How about if I add a zero to my bank statement? Am I reduced to a simple number? Does my sense of identity have to fluctuate with my daily balance?


It is often funny how much effort, over a long period of time, with a vast culmination of experiences come together to create a title. We can hold many titles: Doctor, Mommy, Daddy, Corporal, and Manager; the list goes on. Often many find solace in settling into the title as opposed to the sum of the experiences that got them there. Does the title bond you to the masses expanding you, or does it reduce you?


Often I have felt when in the middle of an undesired circumstance that I could easily reduce my life, my opinion of myself, and my titles, to one simple label. I could say “life sucks”, or “this is horrible”, or “it will not ever get any better.” Not only did I reduce myself, but I also narrowed my scope of reality. Many times we have to get certain life issues further behind us to allow us to look in the “rear-view mirror” and see the bigger picture; we can see that the things we curse often bless us. Expanding our focus diffuses reduction. Expanding our perspective expands our life.

When I find I am attempting to reduce myself, another, or a situation, I must remind myself that as I look back, everything, and I mean everything that I once perceived as negative has paid off eventually. Whether it is through knowledge, patience, or simply experiencing what not to do I have benefitted. I also learned that most often reducing my focus takes away my ability to see not only the greater picture but the important life lesson. Life is like a Monet painting, sometimes we have to step back, really look, be patient, and let it show us what we are supposed to see.

We are all more than one label, one moment, one opinion, one number, and one consequence. If we expand our focus, become patient, and broaden our perspective, we can truly see the messages we are supposed to see. The only time reduction is a really good thing is if you are making a sauce. I hope both your life and your sauces are flavorful.

1 comment:

Duane Scott said...

I think we all struggle with wanting to label everyone.

And somehow, I'm always surprised when I find out I labeled someone wrong.

Good post.